Micro-diamond: A House of Gratitude by Natacha Diels, Sam Scranton, and Zach Moore

2/1/19 at 8:00 pm
Radius Gallery: 1050 River St. #127, Santa Cruz
Tickets: $10 - $15

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Natacha Diels, Sam Scranton, & Zach Moore’s Micro-diamond: A House of Gratitude invites the visitor to experience every passing millisecond as a weighty and tangible substance. The visitor moves through video, music, and lighting installations inspired by biological oscillations and synchronous patterns in nature, and interacts with live performers delivering guiding words of gratitude.

About Language as a Wilderness

This event is part of the series Language as a Wilderness, co-presented by Indexical and Radius Gallery at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz.

Language as a Wilderness is a five-week series of experimental music dealing with language extracted from its natural environment. It is co-presented by Indexical and Radius Gallery at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, from Jan. 12 through Feb. 9. For more upcoming performances, visit indexical.org/events.

About Micro-diamond: A House of Gratitude

“Micro-diamond: A House of Gratitude” invites the visitor to experience every passing millisecond as a weighty and tangible substance. In order to construct such an experience, [Micro-diamond] offers multiple strategies for prolonged contact with “the now”.

One such strategy involves the active reconstruction of fleeting phenomena and our relationship to them. While insect noises or bird song can be recorded or played back, they can also be re-synthesized by hand, lovingly rebuilt, in an attempt to discover their interior qualities and to provide an incessantly repetitive reminder that each second is precious. House plants become a symbol of the domestic reconstruction of “nature”.

In [Micro-diamond] the house-plants are both literally alive, and animated with servo motors. The installation takes up the best intentions of Dr. Frankenstein without the devastating consequences; or maybe there is something tragic in the desire to hold on to the transient.

The concept of slowing down time contains implications of the surreal or supernatural– these will be enhanced through corporate spiritual projections coupled with miniaturized space imagery and vastly magnified ordinary miniatures– popcorn or tiny insects, for example. Spiritual guides encourage the visitors to engage in time-consuming, endless and circuitous games– the end is never far from the beginning.

Another strategy for slowing down time emerges through a directionless music. Often our listening is anticipatory, goal-oriented; through an immersive solid-state-static-sound-scape, one can refocus the mind on present activity.

Performers will offer words of gratitude, as gratitude itself is an act of savoring the present or recent past. Rounding out the experience, [Micro-diamond] will use [holographic] projections, lavender-scented mist, and a reconstructed waiting room to provide the visitor with an alternative timeline for the visit, one that moves slowly or perhaps timelessly. An oversized water clock measures the time passing, slowly and erratically. Other physical rebuilds re-establish missed connections with the world we’ve built around us.

Natacha Diels

Natacha Diels’ work combines ritual, improvisation, traditional instrumental practice, and cynical play to create worlds of curiosity and unease. Recent work includes the completion of a series of fairytales/nightmares for performers, and the construction of a Portal with her performance duo On Structure.

Natacha founded the experimental music collective Ensemble Pamplemousse in 2003, and continues to be its director and flautist. In 2009 she co-founded the performance duo On Structure with Jessie Marino. Pamplemousse specializes in unique aspects of composition and new music, from complex virtuosic instrumental performance to experimental theatre to electronic and robotic performance. Inexorably uncompromising, the group has developed its name by presenting exquisitely challenging music at both internationally recognized festivals such as Borealis Festival (Norway) and Transparent Sound Festival (Budapest), and lesser-known gems such as Louisville’s Experimental Music Festival (KY). On Structure is a sound-centric highly choreographed paradoxically improvisatory collaboration project, performing whenever travel paths collide. In 2016, On Structure was featured at SPOR Festival (DK) and Omaha Under the Radar (Nebraska).

With a focus on choreographed movement, traditional instrumental technique, and a wide array of DIY electronics, Natacha’s compositions have been described as “a fairy tale for a fractured world” (Music We Care About) and “fantastic playful modern chamber music full of magic and wit” (Vital Weekly). As composer, she has been featured at international festivals such as Darmstadt International Summer Institute (DE), SPOR Festival (DK), Borealis Festival (NO), Mostly Mozart at Lincoln Center (NYC), Maerz Musik (DE), Sweet Thunder (SF), and MATA Festival (NYC), among others. She has written works for Ensemble Pamplemousse, TAK Ensemble, JACK quartet, Ensemble Adapter, ICE, Talea Ensemble, Dal Niente Ensemble, Anne LaBerge and Diamanda Dramm; and soloists Maria Stankova, Ross Karre, and Heather Roche. Her music been performed by ensembles worldwide such as Mocrep, Plus/Minus, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the New York New Music Ensemble, and Sonar Quartet.

As flautist, Natacha’s performance has been likened to “an insane, barking bird who can’t find his way out of his own birdcage” (The Sound Projector).

Natacha has taught courses in electronic and computer music at Columbia University and Parson’s School of Design; and has conducted numerous workshops or lectures in composition and computer music at schools such as the School at the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College, Wesleyan University, and University of Southern California. A devoted teacher of all ages, Natacha has also designed and taught workshops to children at the Montessori School of Raleigh, the Upper Catskill Community Center for the Arts, and a summer music camp in Léogane, Haiti. She holds degrees in flute performance and integrated digital media from NYU, in music composition from Columbia University, and currently teaches composition and computer music at the University of California, San Diego.

Sam Scranton

Sam Scranton (b. 1981) is a composer/performer working at the intersection of music, performance art, and installation. He has been described in New Music Box as “an artist taking wholehearted risks” and in the New York Times as a “killer drummer”.

Sam has presented his work nationally and internationally at festivals and conferences such as the 2018 Darmstädter Ferienkurse, Composit Festival, NUNC! 3, New Music Gathering, the International Conference on Music and Minimalism, and Omaha Under the Radar. As part of the band volcano!, Sam has performed onstage in Berlin, Moscow, London, and Paris, with albums released by Leaf Label (UK).

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